On Monday, January 18, President Uhuru Kenyatta defended government spending on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), adding that over Ksh2bn was being misappropriated daily.

“These people should not mislead the public that Ksh2billion will be spent, yet what they steal every day is more than Ksh2 billion. These people are useless, and I will say it openly, how much do they spend every year?” he stated.

Uhuru was speaking in an interview with Kikuyu radio stations; Inooro, Kameme, and Gukena.

The controversial statement revived a report titled Elite Capture of Foreign Aid: Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts that was published by Bob Rijkers of the World Bank, Jorgen Juel Andersen of BI Norwegian Business School, and Niels Johannesen of the University of Copenhagen.

File image of Kenyan banknotes
File image of Kenyan banknotes

The study found that aid disbursements coincided with significant increases in deposits held in offshore financial centers known for bank secrecy.

The report detailed that politicians, bureaucrats, and their friends stash billions of dollars in secret offshore banks whenever foreign aid lands in their country.

The research used quarterly information on aid disbursements from the World Bank in combination with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) banking statistics.

Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank country director for Kenya has since come out to state that though partially done by World Bank staff, the study was not sanctioned by the lender.

“Between 1990 and 2010, Kenyan politicians and their cronies transferred an estimated Ksh300 billion into offshore accounts. The billions stashed in offshore accounting for 20 years works out at Ksh1.5 billion a year,” the report reads in part.

However, Uhuru’s latest statement alludes to the looting of taxpayers money on a much larger scale.

The country reportedly lost Ksh2.3 billion during the procurement of Covid-19 items, according to a recent audit report.

In October 2020, Auditor General Nancy Gathangu said managers at the state body responsible for purchases, the Kenya Medical Supply Authority (Kemsa) violated procurement rules leading to the loss of public money.

The government ordered an investigation following a public outcry.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Agencies headquarters in Industrial Area Nairobi.
The Kenya Medical Supplies Agencies headquarters in Industrial Area Nairobi.